Guajome Regional Park
- Location: Oceanside. From I-5, take Highway 76 east for 7.2 miles. Turn right into the park and turn right into the day use area. From I-15, take Highway 76 west for 9.8 miles to the signed park entrance. Turn left into the park and turn right into the day use area. The fee is $3 per vehicle.
- Agency: County of San Diego
- Distance: 2.3 miles
- Elevation gain: 100 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo map: San Luis Rey
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: San Diego County
- More information: Park homepage here; Yelp page here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 3
If you don’t mind noise from nearby streets and having a lot of company on the trails, popular Guajome Regional Park is an enjoyable place to get some fresh air and see wetlands that aren’t common in the San Diego area. Spring-fed Guajome Lake dominates the northern end of the park; smaller Upper Pond is on the southern corner. There are several trails and paved roads throughout the park thus numerous different routes are possible; hiking from one lake to the other and back is a pleasant walk that can be done in an hour or so.
From the picnic tables beside the day use parking area, look for a trail beaten into the hillside heading down to the lake. Turn left and follow a wide dirt path around the permiter of Guajome Lake, passing a few picnic tables. Breaks in the vegetation provide glimpses of the lake. At 0.3 miles, you cross a footbridge and reach a junction. Turn left and cross another footbridge, this time entering a marshy area full of cattails. You enter an attractive woodland of coastal live oaks and red willows; while car noise is still audible this part of the hike feels more secluded.
At 0.7 miles, you reach a T-junction. You can cut the trip short by turning left but to explore more of the park, turn right and follow the path to a picnic area (0.9 miles.) Bear left and follow the Luiseno Trail through a meadow, passing by an interesting sandstone outcrop.
You reach a junction at 1.3 miles where a short but steep trail on the right brings you to the upper pond and a four-way junction. The right and middle forks form a small loop around the pond. The left fork is your return route, which reaches a Y-fork at 1.8 miles. Turn right and follow the trail to a service road (2 miles.) Turn left and follow the road through the campground and back to the day use area.
Text and photography copyright 2014 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.